Wigan residents 'living in fear' of youth gang
Residents on a Wigan estate are living in fear of a gang of youths carrying out appalling acts of anti-social behaviour.
That’s the view of one furious Wiganer and a local councillor desperately trying to crack down on a serious and ongoing wave of disorder and vandalism in Marsh Green.
More than a dozen teenagers have been breaking into empty flats by smashing windows and then breaking up furniture and attacking the fences of neighbouring properties with large sticks.
Yobs have also been seen walking brazenly around throwing fire lighters to each other and glass has been smashed all over the street.
Residents also say children are being threatened with having their belongings stolen from them and have given reports of illegal drug use.
And it is feared that people in the area are too afraid of the gangs to speak out, hindering any attempts by the authorities to deal with them.
The most recent problems have been experienced on Canberra Road, with similar issues before that at properties on nearby Bombay Road.
Worried dad Lee Gaskell says he is going public with what is happening after his daughter’s bike was taken, something he describes as “the final straw”.
Mr Gaskell, 46, said: “I reckon this group must have systematically caused between £10,000 and £20,000 of damage.
“They’ve ripped fencing panels off and set fire to them in a doorway, Windows have been smashed. They broke into a flat and trashed it. I’ve seen them in back gardens banging the walls with sticks.
“It’s absolutely scandalous and a disgrace.
“I’m paying my council tax and rent and my kids are practically prisoners in their own home. They’re too scared to go outside and play and I won’t let them because there’s broken glass strewn across the street.
“My kids went out to play on the street and 10 minutes later were back inside because boys had told them they would take their scooters and bikes off them. Then a few weeks ago the bike we bought my daughter for her birthday went out the back garden. That was the final straw.
“Nothing is being done. There are loads of places for them to congregate and the windows they’ve smashed haven’t been repaired yet. Why haven’t they boarded them up to make it harder for them to cause so much damage?”
Ward councillor Jeanette Prescott also slammed the individuals responsible for the trail of destruction and warned other residents who were assisting the teenagers that they too were responsible for the wrecking sprees.
She said problems started on Bombay Road but after that den of anti-social behaviour was shut down the trouble moved across to Canberra Road.
She said she is doing what she can but pleaded with residents, even if they were scared, to help her and the council out.
Coun Prescott said: “I’m hoping people in the area will come forward and work with me. People are frightened of them and I understand that because they light fires and go round smashing the place up, but I’m putting myself out there knocking on doors and asking people about it.
“I’m willing to do it because what residents are going through is awful.
“It’s frightening these people think it’s alright to go round doing this. It’s not and there will be consequences. As son as we get details they will be dealt with.
“Parents need to understand they are responsible for what their children are doing and people living in these flats letting them into the building are facilitating the damage they cause. I know that is happening and they should also be targeted by the council.”
Coun Prescott says information has been passed to the town hall’s anti-social behaviour teams and she is also hoping to organise a public meeting to discuss the problems in Marsh Green.